It wrapped me like a cloak, that papery sound. October’s leaves, battered and bruised, but holding yet, whooshed thickly in a wind tantrum determined to strip away every remnant of summer, thrashing the trees and twisting each leaf, growling down from the dishwater sky and around our little homes, impatient for winter.
The air was warm still, but one muscular shove from the south bore an invisible stream of ice, a whisper in the tumult, frost-winged specter. I felt it and knew then it was saying what it came to say, this insistent rush.
I bent over the lavender, itself bent low. Spent, sleepy, it offered up a final incense as I trimmed back its floppy stems. Two fat bees lumbered through the air to watch and sniff. They too heard the Babel of the papery leaves, in tongues of crimson and copper, and saluted the deep purple of my harvest. They too knew the time.
October 14, 2022 at 1:59 pm
*gasp* — this is gorgeous, Maureen. Wow.
October 14, 2022 at 2:08 pm
October 14, 2022 at 3:40 pm
I must add something to my thanks. Your reaction was so very encouraging. I’d been fussing with this for some days, trying to put into words what I’d felt the other day when I was working in the yard. And, as you know, I’m trying to figure out prose poetry. The more we fuss with something, especially when we’re experimenting, the harder it is to send it out into the world, I think. But then I suppose everything we write is an experiment.
October 14, 2022 at 4:16 pm
Everything that anyone ever wrote is exactly that! (And, of course, I’m no expert, but I’ve read a LOT in all these decades, and this prose of yours is amazing in so many ways.)
October 14, 2022 at 4:47 pm
And thank you again.
October 14, 2022 at 3:03 pm
Good grief, I was hanging on to every word, feeling as though I was right there and losing a friend. You are an amazing writer Maureen.
Summer leaves changing to fall colors is like the changing of the guard…preparing for winter. Winter is a beautiful season with soft clean snow covering everything and looking so pristine. Then the snowplows come through and muck it all up…but roads are clear! I don’t do well in the bitter cold temperatures and howling wind. The upside is, once Winter is done torturing us, Spring arrives with new promises.
October 14, 2022 at 3:34 pm
Thank you, Ginger! It means a lot that you took such a feeling from this. And you’ve got it exactly right about the next months: the snow is beautiful, but the cold in our bones is not beautiful at all. I dread the cold, and I would say that “torture” is the right word for that. Thank goodness we have soup and flannel. And maybe some apple crisp.
October 14, 2022 at 11:27 pm
What a wonderful description of fall. Our color has been plentiful, but then we received 3″+ of rain in the last 24 hours, and a lot of those leaves are on the ground along with a lot of branches. I had to do a couple of errands during the storm, and I had to change all of my clothes when I got home. I was soaked. I also saw more branches down in the road than I’ve ever seen. I think there will be a lot of raking this weekend around the area.
October 15, 2022 at 12:15 am
3+ inches in 24 hours? No wonder you were soaked! And now a weekend of picking up branches and raking wet leaves? Get out the liniment. Nothing like a bag of wet leaves to strain the back. It seems early to be losing tree color, but some of our color is on the ground now too. The wind has been busy.
October 15, 2022 at 1:10 am
This is beautiful and perfect, Maureen. There are many ways to describe the feel of autumn. This is one of the best.
October 15, 2022 at 9:30 am
Thank you, Dan. Prose poetry continues to challenge.
October 15, 2022 at 12:00 pm
But you’re doing well with it.
October 15, 2022 at 1:59 pm
October 16, 2022 at 9:08 pm
I enjoyed your prose poem too – definitely something in between the two. The bit I lingered over might surprise you. It was ‘I felt it and knew then it was saying what it came to say, this insistent rush.’ because it seemed to have the blustery sound of the wind in it.
October 16, 2022 at 9:11 pm
I meant to say something of the picture too. How strange it is that the odd section of a tree can colour so brightly red while the rest stays green. I have been watching several in our neighbourhood doing just that. Or is the left hand section more than one tree?
October 16, 2022 at 10:23 pm
The leaves on the left are on a green-and-red tree, yes. It seems to be divided among different time zones.
October 16, 2022 at 10:27 pm
Different time zones – that’s it! I find them fascinating but have been hoping the red part of the tree is a celebration, rather than an indication of some kind of stress.
October 16, 2022 at 10:22 pm
Thank you! I’d love to think that some words have the sound of the moment! Sound is so much a part of writing, and so tricky. Have you ever seen the book “Sound and Sense” by Laurence Perrine? My copy dates from college days, long ago. It was such a revelation to me.
October 16, 2022 at 10:27 pm
I haven’t but will look out for it.
October 16, 2022 at 10:31 pm
If you ever find it, I’d be eager to hear your reactions to it.